Analysis: electric car charging is still hit and miss

Grange Park Services, A45, near Northampton, Type: 50kW, CCS Price: 35p per kWh, Paid: £3.40, Ease-of-use rating: 5/5

I had high hopes for Instavolt, because it’s run by Chargepoint, which markets itself as a purely pay-as-you-go service. “No subscription, membership, RFID card or app required,” it says. Instead, all you do is tap your card and start charging. This was one of a pair of devices round the back of a petrol station, which meant access to the shop for snacks.

How it went

Textbook. A big sign tells you what to do, repeated on the screen: “Tap payment card, plug in, tap payment card to finish.” So we did just that. The modern screen showed us the ID 3’s battery status, price, how many miles’ worth of juice were added and the charging rate (34.4kW). After we had finished, a receipt appeared on the screen.

Of all the chargers, this provided the closest to a petrol station experience (helped by it actually being located in one).


Ikea, Bletcham Way, Bletchley, Type: 43kW, Type 2 AC Price: 30p per kWh, Paid: Nothing, Ease-of-use rating: 1/5

Ecotricity is best known for its Electric Highway network, which covers most motorway service stations (as well as its chargers’ generally poor reliability), but it has other locations, including this one at an Ikea. It says that its rapid chargers are accessed via a smartphone app, so I wasn’t expecting the process to be quick…


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